When the home crowd last saw the Texas Rangers, it was before the All-Star break and a key trip to the West Coast. They led the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by four games.
Even after losing two of three to their arch rivals, the Rangers returned to Arlington in even better shape. With a 4-4 overall record at Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles, they entered this week five games in front with a 10-game home stand ahead.
One reason for the improvement is Texas broke a 10-game streak without scoring more than four runs twice with a 6-1 victory July 17 at Oakland and 9-1 triumph over the Angels on Saturday. Home runs by Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre keyed the earlier
game while two blasts by former Angel Mike Napoli and one each for Beltre, Yorvit Torrealba and Ian Kinsler aided the latter contest.
The Rangers also saw the temporary return of two pitchers from the disabled list. Reliever Alexi Ogando came back July 17 after more than a month away because of a right groin strain while starter Colby Lewis returned the next day after more than three weeks off due to right forearm tendinitis.
Lewis fared better, giving up only one run on three hits in five innings with no decision in a 4-3 loss July 18 at Oakland but unfortunately tore a tendon and will miss the rest of the season. Ogando yielded three runs in three innings in four outings.
The Rangers need a return to their running game that has produced just two stolen bases in 16 games and an offense that has hit just .239 and scored just 47 runs in July. It wouldn’t hurt if Hamilton could get back on track as he’s hitting just .164 with three homers and five RBI and 16 strikeouts this month.
White Sox, Angels follow Boston
The Rangers wrap up their only home appearance against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, then host the Chicago White Sox over the weekend and the Angels for four games beginning this Monday.
Boston’s visit is the first time former Ranger Manager Bobby Valentine has managed in
the regular season against his former club in Arlington. Monday’s game also put the Rangers over two million in attendance earlier than ever before.
Chicago was leading the American League Central division entering the All-Star break, then changed gears by losing seven of its 10 games entering this week to drop 1.5 games
behind the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox lost the lead after being swept by Detroit last weekend.
While the Rangers opened the season with two wins in three games at home against the White Sox, they lost all three games earlier this month in Chicago. The White Sox have hit just .255 as a team while their pitchers have had a 4.70 earned run average in July. A key addition has been third baseman Kevin Youkilis who has hit .297 with five home runs and 16 runs batted in this month.
The Rangers are 4-5 against the Angels who have thrived since bringing up outfielder Mike Trout in late April. The likely American League Rookie of the Year made the All-Star Game and is in the conversation for league most valuable player as the team has a 46-30 record since he was called up. He has 15 hits in 34 at-bats against Texas, a .441 average and has hit .426 with seven homers, 15 RBI and nine of his league leading 31 stolen bases out of 34 attempts in July.
Texas could be bolstered against the Angels by the possible return of first baseman Mitch
Moreland who has been out since June 20 with a left hamstring strain.